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ASH’s Accomplishments in 2020

ASH’s work is based on the principle that the behavior of the tobacco industry, marketing and selling lethal and addictive products, violates human rights.  As such, we carry out 4 key areas of work:

Donate(1) Phasing out the commercial sale of tobacco products (aka Project Sunset),

(2) Using the law to hold the tobacco industry accountable,

(3) Using a human rights approach to advance tobacco control, and

(4) Promoting and strengthening global best practices.

Each program can end the tobacco epidemic on its own, and combined, our programs will chip away at the tobacco industry from every angle to speed up the end of tobacco-related deaths.

We’ve broken down our success in each program, and you can always learn more about our work on our main program page here. This list is not exhaustive, but it contains the major highlights from our work in 2020.


Project Sunset: Phasing out the sale of commercial tobacco products

  • Project Sunset
    Read more here

    Manhattan Beach, CA passed an ordinance in February 2020, following the lead of Beverly Hills, CA, to begin phasing out the sale of commercial tobacco products in their city. Read ASH’s statement of support here.

  • ASH received a five-year grant from the California Tobacco Control Program (CTCP) to assist in the implementation of the CTCP Endgame Initiative as a technical assistance provider. The grant went into effect in August, and we hired a full-time Project Director (read her story here) and initiated the process to hire a Project Coordinator.
  • We developed a technical assistance training program and began leading training sessions to a rural county Tobacco Education Program.
  • ASH was invited to serve on the California state endgame advisory council.
  • ASH Staff testified on endgame before the DC City Council. Read more here.
  • ASH provided input to surveys and questionnaires on tobacco de-normalization in France that have been launched in November 2020
  • ASH provided support to a Spain end game strategy
  • ASH published articles or blogs on a number of new tobacco control policies that were passed in 2020:


Using the law to hold the tobacco industry accountable for the harm they cause

  • Liability Program
    Read more here

    ASH and Breathe DC filed a complaint in District of Columbia Superior Court against JUUL Labs, Inc., the controversial e-cigarette purveyor. The complaint alleges that statements on packs of JUUL pods –“5.0% Nicotine Strength” and “3.0% Nicotine Strength”–mislead consumers to believe that JUUL pods contain low amounts of nicotine, or deliver only a fraction of the amount of nicotine delivered by combustible cigarettes. Read more here.

  • ASH, along with our partners at the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the National Medical Association (NMA) are engaged in a law suit against the FDA for its inaction on menthol cigarettes.



Using a human rights approach to advance tobacco control

  • Human Rights Program
    Read more here

    ASH is developing a training and working with local partners in California and D.C. to help teach local advocates how to use international tools like the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and human rights arguments to further their advocacy for menthol bans.

  • ASH submitted or supported the submission of numerous national tobacco centric reports to UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies including Japan, the U.S., Sweden, Chad and others.
    • Both the Japan report and the United States report resulted in publications published in a peer reviewed journal.
    • ASH submitted numerous official statements on the topic of tobacco to the UN Human Rights Council, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and other UN agencies and processes, including (among numerous others):
    • ASH secured a grant to begin work on a 3 year human rights based campaign in France
    • We formed partnerships and new collaborations in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, receiving official support from the Government of Oman, Office of Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, the American University of Beirut, and the Royal Medical Academy of Jordan to work on developing a human rights-based approach
    • Thanks in large part to ASH advocacy in 2019 and 2020, a Human Rights Decision is on the agenda for WHO FCTC COP 9, which has been postponed to 2021.ASH provided support to this process at the request of the FCTC Secretariat and governments.
    • We gave several presentations at conferences virtually and in-person (pre-COVID), including:


Using global norms to move local communities toward a zero tobacco-use prevalence

  • During the week that would have been COP9, ASH hosted a series of daily webinars with high level speakers from all over the world, which resulted in a series of editorials that were published in a peer reviewed publication on the topics covered during the presentations:
  • ASH’s Staff supports local action in Washington, DC by serving as co-Chair of the DC Tobacco Free Coalition. ASH supported the development, in partnership with the coalition, of several virtual events and webinars, including the DC Calls It Quits Summit. As we look forward to 2021 and beyond, we’re excited to work with the Coalition to bring global concepts to local programing in DC to address the disparities and inequities that remain in public health today, particularly with flavored tobacco products – and especially menthol.
  • ASH partnered with the Truth Initiative to present findings from our respective 2019 reports on tobacco industry interference during the CDC’s national partner webinar and the Tobacco Control Network meeting.
  • ASH was invited to participate in this year’s Global Tobacco Industry Index which launched Tuesday, November 17th. Our participation included gathering all data on U.S. tobacco industry interference to be scored in their global report.
  • Using the data gathered for the Global Index, ASH launched its U.S. Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020 with promotional videos from partners at the Truth Initiative and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Department of Health Behavior and a wide social media campaign bolstered by several partner organizations.
  • ASH submitted our quadrennial report to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and our triennial report to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Our reports are vital to maintain our official standing within the UN system and to our human rights and tobacco work.
  • ASH supported various initiatives around the world, including the smoke free-terraces campaign during active COVID-19 restrictions in Spain.





You play a critical role in our success too. Without your support, much of this wouldn’t have happened. Please make a generous donation today, to bolster our work.